Who are you is a question that pops up at various times in our lives and we are forced to answer it promptly. Sometimes we say; my name is so and so, or we say who we are by describing our purpose in that location. For example; I am the lady who called so and so.
We mostly define ourselves by our present conditions or circumstances and most times that’s how people tend to also describe us. So the chubby woman in your office is called; ‘the fat woman on the 3rd floor’. The talkative guy across the room is called; ‘that noisy guy at the end of the hall’. Subconsciously, we find ourselves describing people by their personality or circumstances. So who is the lady down the street who just lost her husband? She is the widow with two children or the single mum etc.
I recently went on a fabric buying expedition and discovered an interesting self sufficient cottage factory in a back street in the Tejusho area that would give the Aba people stiff competition. I went around the place trying to know the workers and as I approached a kind hearted middle aged woman, I was curious to know her name, so I asked her; what is your name madam: it took her a while to respond and I saw the discomfort in her face so I quickly chipped in: I know you are ‘mama something’, she immediately got comfortable with that and quipped; yes I am mama Precious. This kind hearted woman seemed to have lost a sense of herself, outside her role as a mother. She obviously had not said her own name in a long time and had gotten her sense of security from motherhood, which is one of the ways women validate themselves and their existence on the earth.
This made me begin to search my soul to answer this question: who are you? I decided to define who I am (or who you are) by who I am not:
1. I am not my circumstances: circumstances can come to define us to the extent that our name becomes our circumstances. An example is the woman with the issue of blood in the bible. I am sure she had a nice name like Peace or Favour, but no one ever mentioned that name, she had become known as the ‘woman with the issue of blood’. You are not your circumstances, because circumstances can change! The woman got her healing and that ended it. So do define yourself by your circumstances because that is what is in front of you. Even is your circumstances don’t change, how you perceive your circumstances can affect your perception of who you are.
2. I am not my physical appearance: This one is one of the toughest for a lot of women to deal with and I have written various articles on it, but truth be told, you are not your physical appearance. Your physical appearance is a suit that you have been given to enable the ‘real you’ function on the earth. You should take care of your physical appearance so you can function at your best, but you should not let your physical appearance hinder your or limit you. I hear women say; I am not pretty enough, or I am not tall enough, or my tummy is too big or my breasts are too large. We spend too much time worrying and criticizing our physical appearance and not enough time nourishing ‘our real selves’ that we begin to get our definition from our physical appearance.
3. I am not my previous/past life experiences: I overheard someone `describing a lady as; that girl that was very loose in school’. My curiosity piqued and I looked at the girl to see if there were any signs of her past escapades, but alas she looked pretty decent and nice looking to me. We have all made mistakes and wrong choices in the past and a lot of it we might not be proud of, but that’s why it’s called ‘past’ it has passed. We can make better choices today and not define ourselves by our past experiences.
4. I am not my failures or successes: This one is very tricky for a perfectionist, achievement driven person like myself. I have spent long periods of time berating myself times when I have failed (I wrote about it in lessons I learn from failure). I am even better at handling success because I have a constant need to become better, so I try not to dwell on it for too long. The truth is that successes and failures do not define us, especially if we don’t allow it. I have heard stories of people whose lives are stuck in their last success or failure stories and it is sad to see how people have defined themselves by the ‘Company they worked with the that folded up’ or ‘ the good old days when things were easy’. Success or failure is not a destination; they are just mountain and valleys in the journey of life.
5. I am not my habits: Habits is one of the main uniting factors amongst people. That’s why people that smoke gravitate towards each other, or people say they are social drinkers. Even good habits like sports and religion seem to unite people. And some people are friends for the sole purpose of the fact that they have similar habits. We are not our habits, despite the fact that our habits would determine the outcomes of our future. Habits can be changed; bad habits can be dropped and good habits can be learnt. There is more to you than your habits and the habits we embrace should be motivated by internal factors like a sense of purpose than by external factors like social relations (porn intended!)
I recently went to see Angelique Kidjo’s performance and I was so enthralled by her power and stage presence and at that moment, I realised; I did not care what she was not. I wasn’t in the least concerned if she was a wife or a mother, I was in Awe of her abilities as a performer and I stood in admiration as she manifested her gifting as a performer; singing, dancing and engaging the audience.
I had profound respect for how she used her music to address social causes that were close to her heart and at that moment I finally understood; that man (male or female) is really a spirit. Who you and I really are is an amazing creative potential that God has unleashed on the world to show his greatness and bring his glory on the earth.
Stop defining yourself by any of the factors above and begin to search your heart in God’s presence to find your true self because in there lies you true sense of purpose and fulfilment! You are created in the ‘Image’ and ‘likenesses of a great and mighty God.
P.S Please follow me on twitter @taleofrecreatio I do my best to share inspirational thoughts and information.
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